MASTERCLASS | FIGHTING STANCE AND MOVEMENT | by Orjan Pettersen
Each week MASTERCLASS gives you brief but key information on how to optimise a simple Krav Maga strike or technique.
In last week’s Masterclass we covered ‘camouflage stance’ (pre-fight movement to deescalate, secure legal protection and disguise fighting skills for surprise purposes).
This week we’ll cover ‘fighting stance’ (movement once fighting has commenced).
ABOUT FIGHTING STANCE
This movement has multiple purposes.
Firstly, it is aimed at retaining excellent balance and readiness to deploy power in both hand strikes and kicks as you move.
Secondly, it is designed to be able to change direction or striking side (with hands or legs) very quickly.
FIGHTING STANCE - UPPER BODY
Drop chin slightly down with shoulders slightly raised to help protect your face. Arms are put up and in front of, but away from, your your face, ready to defend or strike, preferably with open palms (if you’re an open palm striker).
Keep them up throughout unless you’re striking a target lower down. Keep abdominals tight and back straight as you slightly bend forward from the solar plexus and up only.
Picture: The Krav Maga Educator Orjan Pettersen demonstrating the upper body fighting stance in an instructional video.
FIGHTING STANCE - LOWER BODY
Knees are just slightly bent with legs ready to move as feet are shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. One foot is in front of the other, approximately a small step’s distance ahead, on the ball of the foot.
You many want to keep your non-dominant foot at the front (or if you want to play mind games, and ‘match’ the front leg to your attacker’s front leg, as most people (being right handed) will be used to fight someone with the opposite stance.
Your back foot, shoulder-width apart, in a good balanced position a small step behind, should also be slightly elevated onto the ball of the foot. Toes should be pointing forward on both feet.
Test your position like this: You should be able to move your knees around in a loose, circular motion, in both directions, whilst feeling well-balanced and ready to move easily and transfer weight from one foot to another, if you’re rocking back and forth.
Picture: The Krav Maga Educator Orjan Pettersen demonstrating the lower body fighting stance in an instructional video.
MOVING IN FIGHTING STANCE
When moving, push with the foot opposite to the direction you’re moving towards.
For example; to go forward, push with the back leg, and the front leg if moving back. To go left or diagonally forward and left, push with your right foot, and vice versa.
When opening up with a step, in whatever direction, the pushing leg should land in the exact position replicating the position of the feet before the step. For example, if you open up with a step that’s e.g. two feet long, the other foot should step the same distance.
Move with smaller steps, as small steps enable quicker change in direction or explosive kicking or movement to any offensive or defensive action.
Picture: The Krav Maga Educator Orjan Pettersen demonstrating pushing off into a forward step in fighting stance in an instructional video.
CHANGING FORWARD LEG
You can change the front and back leg position with a small skipping motion step. Simultaneously move the back leg straight forward to the line of the front leg as you move the front leg back to the line of the back leg. You simply switch position of the legs.
You can change the direction you’re facing in three different ways in fighting stance.
Firstly, you can turn to the direction of your back leg by simply pivoting your upper body on the ball of your feet to face the toes and body to the side of your back leg.
Secondly, you may pivot on your front leg, again to face the side you’re back leg is on, by moving your back leg in a swinging circular motion to the opposite side and behind your front leg as you turn your upper body to face the side it was previously on.
Thirdly, you can turn towards the side your front leg is on, by pivoting around your back leg, moving your front leg in the swinging circular motion back and behind your previous back leg as you turn your upper body to the side.
The fighting stance is designed for solid balance, rapid movement and directional change to support striking against multiple attackers in the most dynamic fashion.
Read more about different appropriate body language and behaviours in different violence settings in our articles online.